Anytime there’s a 14-game slate it’s going to be a good one. This one is particularly interesting because it is surprisingly lacking in strong value plays as of Wednesday morning. If that holds, people who try to force a stars-and-scrubs lineup when it isn’t there will likely find poor results. I’ll likely be trying to find significantly underpriced players in the mid-range.
UPDATE: After being ruled OUT earlier in the day, Wilson Chandler is now QUESTIONABLE to play tonight.
1. Wilson Chandler, F, Nuggets: QUESTIONABLE – On Monday, Chandler (illness) sat out and newly acquired Mason Plumlee wasn’t ready to play for the Nugs yet. With Emmanuel Mudiay (back), Danilo Gallinari (groin), Darrell Arthur (knee) and Kenneth Faried (ankle) all likely out through the All-Star break, that left just six guys in the main rotation. If that happens again Wednesday night, Jameer Nelson, Gary Harris, Will Barton, Juancho Hernangomez and Nikola Jokic will all be in play again despite rapidly rising price tags and the expectation that Plumlee will make his debut. The spot is nice in a home game against a Wolves team on a back-to-back and off an emotionally taxing loss to the Cavs. Note that Plumlee and Jokic are not expected to be on the floor together, meaning the ex-Blazer is unlikely to play more than 18 minutes.
2. Al-Farouq Aminu, F, Blazers: OUT – Aminu played 39 minutes off the bench Monday, so we know his absence will have a meaningful impact on the rotation. That’s true even though Jusuf Nurkic is expected to make his Blazers debut Wednesday night. The minute floors of Ed Davis ($3,800) and Maurice Harkless ($4,700) remain high relative to their price tags and DK point per minute numbers (.766 for Davis, .761 for Harkless). The problem is an extremely difficult matchup at Utah – the Jazz play at the slowest pace in the entire league and rank second in defensive efficiency.
3. Lavoy Allen, PF, Pacers: QUESTIONABLE – Thaddeus Young (wrist) has already been ruled out. If Allen were to miss again, we can expect a repeat of Monday night when the talented Seraphin was one of the best punts on the board. The 27-year-old Frenchman started and logged 27 minutes, a big number for a player who quietly gets .890 DK points per minute this year and was at .915 last year. Seraphin, who remains just $3,700, would be a core play if Allen is out – even in a middling matchup with the Cavs. Seraphin has played at least 20 minutes four times this season, averaging 23.5 minutes per game. He’s posted 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per night in that sample.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. T.J. McConnell Against the Celtics
With Joel Embiid (knee) out and Jahlil Okafor (possible trade) coming off the bench if he plays at all, the Sixers have no one to run post offense through. That means a true motion scheme featuring extreme ball movement and pick-n-rolls. It’s ideal for the production of T.J. McConnell, who has emerged as the no-doubt featured point guard during the team’s three-game winning streak. Over the last five games, McConnell is averaging 30.8 minutes, 9.8 points, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Now he gets a matchup against the Celtics and defensive liability Isaiah Thomas, who ranks 88th among 88 point guard qualifiers in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. Overall, the Celtics are allowing 5.13 more DK points per game than salary-based expectation to opposing PGs who costs $5K or more (via FantasyLabs).
1. Greg Monroe Against the Nets
We’re always looking for ways to attack an inept Nets team which plays at the fastest pace in the league yet ranks 27th in defensive efficiency. Giannis Antetokounmpo is obviously a very strong play when you add in his small forward eligibility, but he’s priced at $10,800. Michael Beasley’s price has risen sharply to $5,500 as he comes off a somewhat fluky 10-of-13 game. The player that remains underpriced is Greg Monroe, who will continue to come off the bench for merit-based minutes in Jason Kidd’s oft-wonky rotations. Monroe has earned those big minutes lately, playing exceptionally well for 26 and 31 minutes. And given Wednesday’s matchup, he should easily earn something in the 26-30 range again. At 1.205 DK points per minute, a fair baseline for Monroe is 31.3 DK points at just $5,400 – and that’s before we factor in boosts for Brooklyn’s woeful defense.
GPP CORRELATION PLAYS
1. Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins
The Warriors are 17.5-point favorites over the Kings, who are playing on a back-to-back following Tuesday’s win in Los Angeles. That massive number and the failure of Kevin Durant/Steph Curry as chalk on Monday night will likely keep ownership way down Wednesday night. But what if the Kings – who have won four straight games and five of their last six, can keep it close? They’ll almost certainly do it through DeMarcus Cousins, who has an outrageous 41.4% usage rate with Rudy Gay (out for season) off the floor this season. On the other side, Kevin Durant is down to $9,700 after peaking at $10,300 a couple weeks ago. His ownership (as well as Curry’s) will likely be low after combining for just 64 DK points last time out.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Jameer Nelson, T.J. McConnell, Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday
SG: Nicolas Batum, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, Gary Harris, Wes Matthews, Tim Hardaway Jr. (if Thabo Sefolosha is out), Victor Oladipo
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Tyreke Evans, Michael Beasley
PF: Kevin Seraphin (if Lavoy Allen is out), Blake Griffin, Draymond Green, Frank Kaminsky, Wilson Chander (if healthy), Juancho Hernangomez, Nerlens Noel, Channing Frye
C: Nikola Jokic, Greg Monroe, Steven Adams, Marc Gasol, Clint Capela
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.